Federalism: a form of world government.

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 Federalism denotes a form of decentralised government where legally at least the component parts of the federation (states, provinces, Länder or cantons) have statehood of their own and often have historically existed prior to the federation. The central body is frequently called the federal government. The precise allocation of responsibilities and powers varies infinitely. The USA, Canada, Australia, Germany and Switzerland are examples of federal arrangements. The UK is not a federation although every so often proposals are made for varying degrees of devolution that might inevitably lead to a federal arrangement.


 The European Union is not a federation because the Union institutions are supreme in the restricted fields over which the Member States irrevocably granted them jurisdiction, making the EU a supranational body. The European Court of Justice decides points of Community Law applicable in all the member states. In modern times however, there has been discussion amongst observers of the prospect that constant enlargement may well mean that a federal arrangement would be required to cope with the diversity of views and cultures at national level.

 The birth of the federal state coincides with the foundation, in 1787 of the American Federation. The text of the Constitution of the United States of America approved by the Philadelphia Convention, 17th September 1787 in fact represents the first historical example of a federal constitution. In the 20th century the federal model subsequently spread around the world, especially to the countries of the Commonwealth, to a few European countries to Brazil in Latin America and to Nigeria in Africa. The principal characteristic of s federal state is the fact that in it, in addition to the functional division between legislative, executive and judicial powers, there exists a territorial division of powers between the various levels of government which are simultaneously independent and coordinated. In existing federal states, there are essentially two specified levels of government: (a) the federal state and (b) the member states. However over recent years a very strong demand has developed, particularly in western Europe, to organise also the member states on the basis of federal institutions. Unlike unitary states the central government in federal states possesses only the necessary powers to guarantee the political and economic unity of the federation, while the other levels posses full capacity for self-government in all other spheres. In its own sphere no government level must be subordinate to the level above.

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 Federalism implies a wide distribution of power among many centres and thus goes a long way to providing the checks and balances required to effectively control power. The more decentralised political power is, the more difficult its misuse will be. Furthermore the chief merit of federalism lies in its capacity to accommodate diversity. Therefore it is inferred that federalism could be considered to be the ideal system for a country which is subdivided in sufficiently autonomous and small subunits of religion, culture, language etc.

 In the USA despite the system of federalism created by the framers, there were ...

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